Thursday, August 6, 2020

Researching the history of an old house

My partner and best friend of nearly 2 decades wrote this reply to a post on NextDoor. It really sums up the woes and rewards of owning an old house: 

My partner’s house (and my home) is 105 years old. I love it. To me, it’s more than a fixer-upper; it is representative of his scholastic/career achievements and sometimes I think I may have more of an emotional attachment to it than he does. I’ve seen what it was when he bought it, and the time and effort that he has put into it. I’ve also seen the signatures of the care (or lack thereof) of previous owners, and appreciate the narrative of how it’s changed through time. 

Trust me, I am no stranger to old homes— and I can tell you that they’re *huge* pains in the derrière...but worth it. 

I’ve sanded, puttied, and painted more than I ever thought I could do in a lifetime in only the past year. 

The lives that were here (like the 2nd owner that accidentally shot himself in the front room and now rests in the cemetery down the road) play into a larger picture. 

My Best has mapped out every inch of this place; researched the gas, water, and sewer lines; requested obscure documents from the city in order to determine boundary and property lines, and knows more about the layout of our neighbors’ plumbing than even they know.

 I’ve learned more about railroad right-of-ways, encroachments, and federal protection of raptor nests than your average chick. 

Old homes are not simple things.

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